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John van de Ruit

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Mad About Kep!

Continuing my travel blog for the Penguins as the launch of Spud – Learning to Fly looms ever nearer…

I have always suspected that the ways of our modern society, and all of us that exist within it, are clinically insane if not stark raving bonkers. The notion of a mad world that refuses to acknowledge it’s inner lunatic has permeated just about everything I have ever written. The problem is – people have always assumed I was joking – another one of the perils of being a deranged moth desperately circulating the glimmering light bulb of comic Nirvana. But believe it my friends, we are all insane and living a dire catch 22 existence of madmen in a world disguised as sane. Even Eckhart Tolle says so – and only an insane would dare argue with him.

My friends, i don’t want you to be alarmed but i have embraced my inner madman in the last week and i am feeling all the better for it. No more of this “‘author in repose making a sage note in his emerald notebook” business. Oh no, not me! From this point onward i am stir-fried crazy until conclusively proven otherwise. I challenge you to do the same – it’s a highly liberating exercise.

So I discovered my inner madness on the rooftop garden of our villa (ingeniously called La Villa) overlooking the tranquillity of mountains covered in jungle, and the turquoise waters of the gulf of Thailand below. Dotted before me amongst the jungle were the odd thatch and red -roofed backpacker hang outs and everywhere was the sound of birds, small creatures and hooting lizards. For the same price as a bog variety B&B in South Africa we lived like Lords over all we surveyed. Everything that seemed so precious over the last year, myself, and the new book, no longer seemed in any way important anymore. I was indeed small up there looking down on all that natural grandeur. You feel small being the only non-Cambodian around – perhaps it’s through utter anonymity that we find our true place in the world. Perhaps not?

It wasn’t all staring at the view and contemplating our naval however. Jules and I also achieved the following:


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